More and more these days, brochure fundraising is becoming a popular way for schools and organizations to make money. It’s a relatively inexpensive and fun way to get your contributors to donate to your cause.
The best part is, you don’t need to go door-to-door or have schoolchildren go cold calling – if you put out the sales catalogs at work or hand them out to your relatives, you can make a fair amount of money, depending on how much you sell.
With many people selling at once, money is raised fairly quickly, which is really the most important thing. The choice of items for contributors to buy may also raise more interest than having just one or two.
How does it work?
Brochure fundraising is relatively easy – all you have to do is contact a company that offers brochure fundraising. There are lots of choices for this, including cookie dough, gift wrap, candles, home and kitchen decor items, desserts, and candy, just to name a few.
The good thing is, catalogs are normally free or available for a very small fee, so you don’t need a lot of overhead to run this fundraiser. You can get as many as you want.
Once you’ve chosen your company, your group will go out and take brochures around to potential customers. You can do this one of a few ways, or implement different methods for maximum profit. If you are doing this as a school fundraiser, cold-calling (or door-to-door sales) isn’t really a safe thing for children to do.
Many schools get around this by emailing parents and friends to ask if they’d like to receive a brochure and place an order. Other methods include having parents take the brochures to their offices or advertising by word-of-mouth. Then, your contributors will fill out order forms and you and your volunteers will collect money at that time. This period should last about two to three weeks.
After your fundraising period, you will collect all the order forms and money and then create one large final order to place with the fundraising company. Different companies offer different methods of submitting your order, but for the most part, you can submit by mail, phone or fax.
When you receive the orders, make sure to have a lot of volunteers on hand to sort and pass out the items, because the task can be daunting for one person. Some companies will do this in advance for you, but it’s rare. You may also need to provide boxes or bags to hold the items. Sometimes, including a thank-you note for the order is a nice touch, as well.
Also look over the items for anything missing or broken so that you can call and get a quick replacement before the items go out.
How much can I make?
Brochure fundraisers are relatively profitable enterprises – you can make 25% to 50% profit, depending on the company and the items chosen. You will want to make sure that the company doesn’t require you to place a minimum order, because that can be money lost if you don’t sell up to what’s required.
Also, find out if shipping is included or extra, because that will eat into the funds that you earn. If the company has an incentive for selling a certain amount, find out about that, too. You can motivate your sales team a lot better if you have something to reward them with at the end!
Pros and cons of brochure fundraising
What are the advantages and disadvantages of fundraising with catalogs? Like all fundraisers, there are good and bad points about using this particular fundraiser. The pros include immediately-available profits, because you just pay the company and they send you your cut, and that you don’t have to carry an inventory.
The best part is that you may be able to host the same fundraiser multiple times in the same year, which can give you a steady source of profit for whatever events or items you need to fundraise for. You can also choose different items each time, so that you’re not always selling the same thing. This will increase interest in the fundraiser.
However, there are cons to brochure fundraising. Customers have to pay for their product upfront, which may turn them off of buying anything because they don’t have the cash right then and there. However, you can decide to take checks – check with the company to see if they need to be made out to them or to your school, and if that’s even an option for payment.
You also may need to meet a minimum order, which can be hard if your sales team doesn’t do too well with their selling. Also, beware of items that are back-ordered – it can slow down your whole order and you may have a lot of questions and angry customers on your hands. Check with the company to see which items are back-ordered to prevent this from happening.
The brochure fundraiser works well around holidays like Christmas, and food brochures like cheese, cookie dough, and candy always do very well. At the very least, you’ll get some interested parents and grandparents wanting to support the school – at the most, you’ll get people from all over the community buying things to help you out.